Feature

Meet Nicholas Hendrieck and Stefan De Beer, the 26-year-old entrepreneurs behind the eco-friendly label, Hempt.

As the world traverses this period of great uncertainty it is up to us, as consumers, to ensure the longevity of local-based entrepreneurs and businesses by supporting them as best we can.  

Hempt is one of those businesses.

Founded by friends Nicholas Hendrieck and Stefan De Beer, Hempt was established to maximise the benefits of industrial hemp by featuring the fiber in their product lines.

With the aim being to enlighten people regarding the benefits of the hemp fibre and its link to quality and sustainable textiles, they merged their passion for fashion and sustainability to produce timeless pieces encouraging you to not conform to society’s norms.

Custard X: Howzit guys. Please identify yourselves and tell me a little bit about what your vibe is?

Nick Hendrieck: Yes, I am Nick, a B-com Strategic Management Student, Architectural Sales Consultant and an entrepreneur with a passion for fashion, as well as an appreciation for sustainability and cannabis culture. I’d label myself as an out-of-the-box thinker that enjoys going against the grain and inspiring others to do the same.

Stefan De Beer: I am a person who does not like to stick to the norm, I challenge myself to new heights every day and I believe my brain is wired towards the left side, as analytical and methodical approaches consume my thinking. My name is Stef and I am a Mechanical Engineer that has been hooked on hemp, as an industrial crop, ever since learning about Henry Ford and his ideas on the fibre.

Image by Joshua Fell

C: Tell me where were you born and raised?

NH: Born in Cape Town, grew up in Johannesburg, moved back to the Cape in 2014.

SB: Born in Evora, Portugal – my family moved back to South Africa when I was 6-months-old. I was then raised in Johannesburg with my two older brothers and I’ve been here ever since.

C: So explain to me exactly what your business, Hempt, is all about?

N: A brand that aims to inspire a change in holistic lifestyle and redress society in a sustainable fashion. Hempt was established to maximise the benefits of industrial hemp by featuring the fibre in our product lines. With the aim being to enlighten people regarding the benefits of the hemp fibre and its link to quality and sustainable textiles, we join passions for fashion and sustainability to produce timeless pieces encouraging you to not conform to societies norms and be comfortable with you and your passions.

S: Hempt is a lifestyle brand based off of hemp fibres that want to penetrate the sustainable fashion industry and educate the world about the vast uses and benefits that it has. We want to show how hemp can provide the same quality garments in the industry without having a negative impact on the environment.

Photo by Index Finger

C: So tell me how did Hempt come about?

Hempt: Two very good friends with similar interests and drive came together, joined ideas from which Hempt was born. To explain, Stefan always had an urge to go into the hemp industry due to his passion for the plant and with Nick’s passion for fashion and the arts, they both decided to combine their ideologies and create a brand that will stand out and adapt to the 21st centuries thinking behind a greener planet.

C: Do you believe there is a purpose for your brand in a market that is seen as oversaturated? What is your X-factor?

Hempt: Yes, yes and yes! We want to provide the industry with timeless pieces with the best fibre known to mankind; who else manufactures fashionable pieces with hemp? The fashion industry is what it is, but what we are doing is far more than fashion. It’s almost like we are turning back the hands of time and starting things from scratch, bringing you minimalistic garments in the most sustainable manner possible. Further than fashion, we are an educational platform, educating our audience regarding what exactly hemp it, the opportunities and possibilities of the industry, and the impact that an adoption of hemp textiles can ultimately have on society and the environment. Hemp is the original textile, we are bringing it back with a bang.

C: What is your plan of action with regards to collaboration? Are you open to it?

Hempt: We are definitely open to collaboration with appropriate brands that share an aligned vision and mission. We would like to collaborate with fellow South African creatives from illustrators, writers and musicians to photographers and videographers in hopes of gaining an understanding on what keeps them moving forward; ultimately, building a platform with its own culture where we use said platform for the greater good.

C: Besides your online store, how do you plan to take Hempt. to new heights?

Hempt: The goal is to penetrate the streetwear culture in South Africa and to show the industry that our garments are not just clothes but pieces of art. From pop-ups to retail stock lists, the aim is to position the brand alongside the big-boys of the industry.

C: Being a local apparel based in South Africa, what are some of the difficulties you’ve faced as a business?

Hempt: As with all industries, it’s a close-knit industry, hard to navigate without experience in said industry, so sourcing the right piece to the puzzle has proven to be challenging. Not to mention, having to distinguish ourselves as an environmentally conscious and exclusive brand in an oversaturated market has been its own challenge. We are also dealing with the negative history behind hemp and its pointless connections with marijuana.

C: Where do you see Hempt. in the future?

Hempt: On the top of everyone’s t-shirt pile in their cupboard… (joking) we see Hempt growing key relationships in the hemp fibre supply chain in South Africa. We want Hempt. to be the brand that plays a major role in the comeback of the world’s biggest industrial crop. At the end of the day, this will be an international brand that connects communities across the globe.

C: What’s next for the two of you and your business?

Hempt: Time to bring out the clothing- essentials. We will be bringing out basic t-shirts and hoodies in our corporate index colours as well as, when the time is right, collaborate with some of South Africa’s dopest illustrators in a rollout of minimalistic essential pieces.

Photo by Hello Marinus

Backed by Mother Nature herself, it’s only fitting to support this environmentally-conscious brand that is putting the planet first.

Visit Hempt’s socials and educate yourself on the benefits of the super-fibre known as hemp and see how the world is incorporating it into just about every aspect of life.

Check out Hempt’s latest collaborative creation with local rapper, Lakei, shot by Hello Marinus below.